Mining will impact

THE effects of massive mining development around Alpha will spread to Emerald, according to the Waratah Coal Environmental Impact Statement released on Saturday.

The Central Highlands Regional Council has already released large areas of land for housing and industrial sites and is actively encouraging contractors to establish a base in Emerald.

Waratah identified the following impacts:

 Emerald will become the main location for contractors providing services to mines near Alpha.

 An increase in traffic along the Capricorn Hwy will result in more accidents, increased pressure on police, health and emergency services.

 Emerald's population will continue to grow rapidly and remain relatively young.

 Public infrastructure will improve in line with population growth as Emerald emerges as a major regional centre.

 Employment levels will remain high and average income levels will continue to rise.

The EIS acknowledged that the increased cost of living, including housing, goods and services would disadvantage some.

It also stated that welfare agencies in the region were "stretched to the limit", and the cumulative impact of multiple resource projects would significantly add to the burden. It stated more funding was needed to support these agencies.

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